Reading time:3 minutes, 0 seconds
Rain throughout Saturday morning in Turkey left the track wet for the start of final practice, leaving the drivers to complete their initial exploratory laps on completely wet tires.
After watching Lando Norris switch from wet to intermediate tires 15 minutes into the session, several other drivers followed suit as a drying line continued to emerge.
But the session was red-flagged after 22 minutes when Russell went off the track at Turn 2 after hitting the white line at the inside apex of the turn.
The spin left Russell’s Williams FW43B car stranded in the gravel, and although it didn’t hit the wall, it couldn’t get back on track, forcing officers to throw a red flag.
The session resumed five minutes later after Russell’s car was retired, but Russell’s spin didn’t stop the drivers from sticking with intermissions once they got back out as the track continued to dry.
While the drivers, including Nikita Mazepin, Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, had turns, the track improved during the session, leaving many struggling with overheating front tires as it dried, but remained too wet for switch to slicks.
Verstappen was able to take a second off the field shortly after the session resumed before his spin a lap later at Turn 9, something he called a “nice 360.”
After negotiating the fastest lap times with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, Verstappen was ultimately beaten by his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez with less than 20 minutes to go, while the Mexican moved 0.3 seconds ahead. .
But it was Gasly who set the fastest lap of all not long after Pérez’s effort, posting a time of 1m30.447s to take first place for AlphaTauri.
Gasly informed AlphaTauri that he was damaging his front tires because the track was now very dry, with most struggling to improve their times in the final stages due to overheating.
Verstappen made a late improvement to second place, 0.164 seconds less than Gasly’s time, but saw title rival Lewis Hamilton only finish 18th when Mercedes limited the race for the reigning world champion, who completed just five laps.
Pérez finished third in FP3 for Red Bull, while Ferrari continued their good practice form in Turkey as Carlos Sainz Jr and Charles Leclerc finished fourth and fifth in FP3. Leclerc asked to test slick tires in the closing minutes of the session, but remained in intermediate for his final race.
Fernando Alonso was sixth for Alpine after escaping a gravel race at Turn 1, while Kimi Raikkonen was one of the few to improve late, taking seventh for Alfa Romeo. Race director Michael Masi summoned the team for an informal chat after Raikkonen was nearly released in the path of Mick Schumacher in the pit lane.
Yuki Tsunoda finished eighth in the second AlphaTauri car, but was furious on the radio after Perez stopped him at Turn 11 in the spray midway through the session, although race control did not take note of what happened.
Bottas finished the session ninth for Mercedes, while Esteban Ocon completed the top 10 for Alpine, finishing ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi and Sebastian Vettel.
Schumacher was ranked 13th for Haas ahead of the McLaren pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Norris, who were followed by 2020 Turkey pole-sitter Lance Stroll in 16th.
Mazepin finished 17th in Haas’s sister car ahead of Hamilton, with the timesheets supported by the Williams pairing of Nicholas Latifi and Russell stranded.